7 Aug 2018 11:13

Deployment of fighter jets on Iturup strengthens Russia's defense capacity - Kuril district authorities

YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK. Aug 7 (Interfax) - Vadim Rokotov, the acting head of the Kuril district administration, is expecting the deployment of multirole fighter jets Sukhoi Su-35S on the Island of Iturup to strengthen Russia's defense capacity on the eastern frontiers.

"I have gladly welcomed the pilots to the Kuril land. The defense capacity of our motherland is strengthening. These are wonderful planes, and the crews are perfectly trained. We are pleased that the insular population has grown," Rokotov told Interfax on Tuesday.

Japan's protests against the deployment of military hardware on the Russian islands are traditional, he said.

"Japan has been protesting for some continuing reasons. This is a tradition of the Japanese policy. We are acting consistent with Russian laws; this is our jurisdiction. The national administration and the Russian Defense Ministry believe they have every ground to do so, and we hail additional efforts towards bolstering the protection of our borders in this area. We have welcomed another military unit to our closely-knit Kuril family," Rokotov said.

The Kuril authorities intended to continue cultural and business cooperation with Japan, he said.

"We regularly receive Japanese delegations traveling visa-free. One of such delegations has recently departed, and we are waiting for another one to arrive. We always welcome a peaceful and constructive dialogue and developing culture and business. We will be glad to see Japanese guests. We feel absolutely no antagonism towards Japanese citizens," he said.

"The defense capacity of our nation and a dialogue, and cultural and economic relations with our close neighbor are two different things. We see a clear distinction between the two," Rokotov said.

Reports referring to the Russian regional portal Sakhalin.info said on August 3 that multirole fighters Sukhoi Su-35S, were put on a trial combat duty at the Yasny airport. The portal posted photos of three planes.

Su-35 is a profoundly modernized super-maneuverable multirole fighter jet of generation 4++ designed by Sukhoi Company. According to Sukhoi, the plane incorporates fifth-generation technologies, which make it superior to fighters of a similar class.

In turn, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Monday Tokyo was saddened by reports of the deployment of Russian fighter jets on the Kuril Island of Iturup.